Where to start? I get this question a lot, and here are the answers! Despite the definitive answers you’ll get from some folks, there are actually a lot of different ways people get started in the hobby. The most common are A) joining a game that other folks are already running, or B) buying some of the products and getting started on your own. If you’re in Group A, congratulations! You already have a pool of players whose brains you can pick for these answers… but if you’re in Group B, I’ve got you covered!
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Each of these is a prepackaged way to kick of your gaming, and includes all of the basics. They come in various flavors, but each has everything you need to run at least a handful of sessions. That said, while these are convenient, they’re not all that cheap for what you get. They’re good products, but you’re paying for the convenience (or the novelty in the case of the Stranger Things set) rather than the actual stuff.
Core Rule Books
These products are those that most people consider the starting point for your D&D journey, and they are the core of the experience.
There are a handful of other things you’ll want to have handy if you’re playing D&D. Dice are essential. Minis and maps are optional, but they sure add to the fun!